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Latin American Kids Bear Climate Burdens

Four out of every five children in Latin America and the Caribbean are “overexposed” to risks from climate events, but only a fraction of climate action funding considers their needs, warned the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday.

“The financial commitments in the region are inadequate and ignore the specific needs of girls, boys, adolescents, and young people in the face of the current climate change crisis,” the UN agency said while releasing a report in Panama prepared jointly with various NGOs.

“In the region, 4 out of every 5 children are overexposed to risks from hazards and adverse climate events,” but “less than 4% of the funding” from funds to meet the needs of this population is dedicated, added UNICEF in its note.

It highlighted that in the region “about 96.8% of climate funds are not responding to the needs of children.”

Additionally, nearly 11 million boys and girls in the region “experience the triple burden of being exposed not only to climate risks but also to poverty and conflicts,” the agency added.

These conclusions are in an “advocacy note” prepared by UNICEF with the NGOs Save the Children and Plan International, and the Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative (CERI), a global coalition led under the auspices of the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment.

“Girls and boys in Latin America and the Caribbean are the most affected by climate change, but the least benefited from such funds,” declared Garry Conille, UNICEF’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, quoted in the statement.

“Children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean are agents of change and are key to responding to the current climate crisis. However, in 35 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, they receive no direct climate investment. This must change,” said Victoria Ward, regional director of Save the Children.

Conille stated that “the climate crisis is a crisis of children’s rights, [so] a climate fund that does not take children into account is doomed to fail.”

In October, UNICEF called on world leaders to address the impacts of climate change on children at the climate summit (COP28) being held until December 12 in Dubai.

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